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Ferdy Murphy: Cheltenham Festival-winning trainer dies aged 70

Ferdy Murphy
Ferdy Murphy was a multiple winner at the Cheltenham Festival

Ferdy Murphy, who trained 10 Cheltenham Festival and three Scottish Grand National winners, has died aged 70.

Murphy moved to France from his North Yorkshire base in 2013 and was diagnosed with cancer four years ago.

A former stable jockey for Paddy Mullins, his Cheltenham winners as a trainer included French Holly, Paddy’s Return and Poker De Sivola.

He took the Scottish Grand National with Paris Pike (2000), Joes Edge (2005) and Hot Weld (2007).

Murphy also saddled 40-1 outsider Sibton Abbey, ridden by Adrian Maguire, to win the Hennessy Gold Cup in 1992, and the 2004 Irish Grand National winner Granit D’Estruval.

Along with training top horses, Murphy helped nurture the careers of several top jockeys including Grand National-winning riders Graham Lee and Davy Russell.

“Very sad to hear of Ferdy Murphy’s passing, one of the all-time greats of our game. He was a huge part of my life and career. Thoughts and prayers are with his family. RIP,” said Russell, who rode Tiger Roll to a second National win in April.

Cheltenham Gold Cup-winning jockey Andrew Thornton, who rode French Holly to a 14-length win in the SunAlliance Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham, said: “Ferdy was charismatic and just a true horseman because he trained the individual. A great man for asking questions and for making jockeys.”

‘A very big character’

BBC racing correspondent Cornelius Lysaght

As well as being a long-standing, highly-skilled trainer and, crucially, assistant trainer, Ferdy Murphy was also a very big character.

An hour in his company, often in what might be called a party atmosphere, was invariably memorable, as he recounted stories of training – as assistant to the official trainers – good old steeplechasers like Gee-A, Sibton Abbey and the Irish mare Anaglogs Daughter.

Anaglogs Daughter was runaway winner of the 1980 Arkle Trophy at the Cheltenham Festival, four days before Murphy himself was in the saddle when she followed up in a good race at Chepstow.

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